A Novel Method to Extract Narrow Water Using a Top-Hat White Transform Enhancement Technique

  • Bo Wu
  • Jinmu Zhang
  • Yindi Zhao
Research Article


A novel water extraction method is proposed to improve the ability of delineation of the narrow water for the modified normalized difference water index (MNDWI) derived from remotely sensed images. This method introduces a morphological white top-hat transforming operation on the MNDWI to construct a morphological narrow water index (MNWI). The MNWI can effectively enhance the local contrast of linear objects, such that the narrow water can be easily separated from mountain shadows, bare patches and other land covers in the MNDWI image. Furthermore, a dual-threshold segmentation method was also used to extract the potential water bodies by combining an empirical threshold segmentation on the MNDWI and an automatic threshold segmentation on the MNWI. The effectiveness of the proposed method was validated with three experimental datasets, clipped from two different Landsat images, and the results demonstrate that the narrow water bodies can be effectively extracted with the overall accuracy being over 90%. Visually, most of the narrow streams or rivers keep continuous shapes in space and their water boundaries are also precisely delineated.


Narrow water extraction White top-hat transform MNWI Dual-threshold segmentation 



Funding was provided by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41571330) and funded by Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2015XKMS050).


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Remote Sensing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and EnvironmentJiangxi Normal UniversityNanchangChina
  2. 2.School of Environment and Spatial InformaticsChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of PoYang Lake Wetland and Watershed Research, Ministry of EducationJixangxi Nornam UniversityNanchangChina

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